Will the Role of the Public Health Official Change Along with the Change in Healthcare Reform?

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The passing of Obamacare means big changes for the American public. Like it or not, the way healthcare happens will be different five or ten years from now than it is today. As a public health official or someone with an online MSN, you could be at the forefront of these changes. If you are looking to make a difference in the world, this will be a fantastic opportunity to make this happen.

Whether you decide to actively practice medicine or act in a bureaucratic position, you need to think long and hard about what you want to see in the future. Because of stiff opposition, the health care changes going into place over the next few years have seen little revision and the public is largely uneducated as to how it will affect them and their businesses. As the people that inform the public on health matters, public health officials will be the ones who define the success or failure of this venture.


One of the most important roles will be the one of the Educator. This is the traditional role of the public health official, and it is going to be a critical one over the next several years. Many people are confused, and perhaps more than that are terrified of what these changes will bring. Those in opposition to the reform have used this fear to help their cause. While the legislation remains, the reforms that were initially planned have not come to fruition. By teaching people what healthcare reform means for them as individuals, you can alleviate their fears and enable them to make intelligent decisions about their future.

In contrast, you could actually work as a Challenger to the health care reform bill. In this case, you will still be educating the public about the topic of health care reform, but instead of working to help people adjust to the new norms, you will be helping to fight them. Likely you feel that there is another direction that the country should be moving in. What better way to get your ideas in practice than to work to build public support and awareness for them?


For many, the preferred role will be as a Reformer. The current legislation was never meant to be put into practice with reform. In this case, your ideology will be a mix of the two other roles. While on the one hand, it is important to make sure the public is aware of what their new rights are. Also important will be educating them about potential issues, and gain support to fix the loopholes in the current reform.

Regardless of the role you choose, public opinion will remain deeply divided on the issue. As a public official, your job is not to only to advise on policy, but to teach people who haven’t studied medicine what will happen to them because of those policies. It requires a deep conviction that you want to make a difference in people’s lives.

No one can accurately predict how the current reforms will work out in the long run. Succeed or fail, this will be in the history books as one of the major American social reforms. By choosing a career in public health, you can be in the forefront of the changes that are occurring and will occur in the near future.


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